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Tsk-tsk

Tsk-tsk, pronounced tisk tisk, is usually an interjection meaning shame on you. It also works as a noun referring to an expression of disappointment or condemnation toward someone, or as a verb meaning to express disappointment in someone or to condemn. The verb and noun forms are hyphenatedtsk-tsk—while the interjection is usually a two-word phrase with a commatsk, tsk.

Examples

Verb

“I hope ATC isn’t turning into a tabloid!” tsk-tsked someone else. [Slate]

It’s very easy to tsk-tsk this kind of foolhardy behavior now and wonder how people could be so clueless. [Fredricksburg.com (link now dead)]


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Noun

Bruce Bowen beat the rap again Monday, a knee to the groin of the two-time MVP getting merely a tsk-tsk out of the NBA offices. [Yahoo! Sports]

How perfect is the surprise tsk-tsk that comes as guests overindulge, only to unveil a pointed deadly sin on their platters? [Los Angeles Times]

Interjection

You might think from the previous paragraph that I don’t like No. 9. Tsk, tsk. [Connect Savannah]

And foolish, foolish me, worried that priceless piece of info was going to be forever lost to us. …  Tsk, tsk, shame on me. [letter to Beaumont Enterprise]

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Comments

  1. inyazserg says:

    Dear author, please, give an example, a video one or some audio on this елы-tsk. I don`t understand how it sounds. It`s just that we, Ukrainians use the interjection/verb ts-ts in the same situations as above ones.
    But we pronounce ts-ts slightly taking some air inside with the tongue – not breathing the air out saying t I sk-t I sk.
    Would you be so kind to give an example in sound, please? I mean the link, or a piece of video or audio record or just a citation from the famous film that can found on the internet and used as an example of tsk-tsk.
    PS Thank you for this article – I like your aticles` structure.

    • Grammarist says:

      Sorry for the delay! We found one on the Merriam-Webster site. The pronunciation here is a little slow, though, so just imagine the guy pronouncing it faster and with a little more attitude:

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/cgi-bin/audio.pl?tskts01v.wav=tsk-tsk

      It does usually sound like “tisk tisk,” but this pronunciation presumably developed from an earlier sound that lacked the vowel, closer to the ts-ts you describe.

      • Thank you very much! I`ve been to the webster site after you had noticed it. The IPA is this: ˈtisk-ˌtisk

        And this is how Russians say ts-ts (the sign of disapproval) (2:09):

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bkzZ4Wd1ro

        Though the ts on the video is just a habit and not a real ts (sorry, I couldn`t find it, although, we, russians often use it), it gives an example of a real ts-ts. One just “says” it 2 times, the same 2 times as in tisk-tisk. It`s like one tries to say English sound [S] inwards two times and it`s done in a sharper way then the [S] sounds.

  2. inyazserg says:

    Oh, please, answer me.

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